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Why producing and sharing good content will please Google -- and you
One story floating around today has been about the idea that Google is viewing social networking as an “engineering problem.” I’ve seen a few people say this is counter-intuitive, that Google can’t expect to apply engineering to human social behavior in order to profit from it (or, as they put it, to “improve the algorithm”). But this is where we, as users -- as content generators (where content is king) -- can step in and help influence how the community forms and evolves over time.

Just for some perspective, I think it’s worth mentioning that all of my posts are being written between answering phone calls at my job. I work at a travel agency as a receptionist, answering calls from anxious clients who usually call me horrible names. I put up with this because I’m trying to save up enough money to go to law school. But I secretly want to be a writer, which is why I started posting my thoughts on my Google+ profile a couple of days ago.

This evening, I have over 1500 people following my posts, which blows my mind. Isn’t it kind of bizarre how Google+ has given someone like me a voice? Here’s why I think that’s happening: original content on the Internet is like a commodity. It’s rare, and it’s valuable. Just by engaging with the community and by sharing my experience, I’ve created content. Every time you guys respond to a post I make (or that anyone makes), and we start exchanging ideas, we create more content, and this pleases our Google Overlords. For those of you who are more tech savvy, or at least for those of you who have been exposed to some SEO techniques, none of this comes as any kind of surprise. But for many social network users, even the ones who are relatively savvy, this isn’t a concept that necessarily clicks intuitively.

I’m not formally educated in web use analysis, but I used to run a fairly large forum (100k+ users) with a pretty active community of posters during the mid-00s, and what I learned was that content production is really hard to force. Most of what we did to the structure of our site was to cater to those who brought us revenue in the form of content. We changed the rules of moderation for them, we changed the site layout for them, we rolled out our electronic red carpets and poured the e-champagne when they fostered meaningful conversations in public areas of the site.

So far, I am seeing Google+’s community as three basic groups: content producers, content sharers, and content consumers. The content producers include people like +Mike Elgan, +Ryan Estrada, and +Danny Sullivan. They’re either posting new ideas, new art, or they’re trying to analyze trends in a meaningful way. The content re-sharers are sometimes non-person entities like +GPlus Tips, but it seems like most often, they’re people whose opinions we respect for reasons other than Google+ content generation. People like +Tom Anderson and +Chris Brogan produce some content, but seem to share more than they produce, and that is still very valuable, because they’re already famous (read: vetted) enough to have an influential opinion. Famous re-sharers also seem to have a good eye for what people might like to engage with in terms of content. Content consumers are the folks who simply lurk, absorb content, and perhaps occasionally comment. Still a valuable group, because if no one is digesting the content, it’s useless -- to Google as well as to the community.

What is my point? It’s the same one I keep making: engage with the community, because content generation and usage is going to shape what Google chooses to do with this product. Whatever your philosophical feelings are regarding the idea of treating public content like a commodity, that’s what it is on the Internet. It doesn’t mean you have to be disingenuous, it means you have to make sure you have something to say (or a song to share that you wrote, or a painting you made, etc.) if you’re going to share it with the public. I keep making sweeping, overly-optimistic statements about Google+ having the power to change the way we interact socially, to let us move forward as human beings. I say these things because I really think it’s possible.

Google has the power to pluck anyone out of obscurity (hello, I’ve gone from 1500 to 1600 followers while typing up this post). What makes Google great is that it seems chiefly interested in rewarding original content production (which is judged to be good by re-sharers and consumers), and even if that’s primarily because it will create a better revenue stream, I think it's great. Wouldn’t you rather see a company succeed because it’s rewarding good sharing and good content production, rather than see a company reward spam and “cheating” at content production? Google is going to try to capitalize on our social interactions. No one is trying to argue otherwise. I’m just saying that I think we, as a community, can help make sure Google keeps rewarding us for the things we value. And that’s a pretty big deal, at least in my estimation.

Bottom line: participate! It will make your experience better, and it will make Google+ better.
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I +1 all posts that I see from you
Well written post! I know where you are coming from. I have been a lurker and occasional poster to almost every social network since livejournal. None of those have ever worked like the conversation engine that g+ is. I still get amazed when I see my vlog gets 30+ views a day (big numbers for me), or someone interesting follows me on here.
Fascinating post! I've been impressed with Google+ so far and its ability to so easily introduce me to new and interesting ideas and perspectives - like yours. I can't wait to see how it continues to evolve.
Great post! I'm so glad to read people who understand that Google+ has the potential to do so much more than status updates and other content sharing modes.

It's wonderful for far more in depth interactions and collaborations.
Can I be honest. I really don't understand why you, someone who wants to be a writer, is putting so much emphasis on Google+. Why not find a platform that will support you and your writing habits better than some multi-billion dollar company that is trying to basically take over the internet but plunging itself into every service imaginable? You make it sound like we should all be helping Google out. They don't need our help. Who needs our help are some of these smaller start-ups who have a major uphill battle against Google.
G+ is making the Internet fun again, I feel the same way I did when I joined a chat room for the first time back in '94 - I wanted to actively participate all-the-time.
+Mike Tesh Google isn't taking over the internet, it's making it valuable by the same process Christina is: giving away what people want.

Google isn't something to fight against. They're generally non-competitive (hence "data liberation", something those other social networks aren't so good with).

Google isn't taking over the internet, it's creating it. And it's getting attention for it. That's why it's popular. That's what creating things does. And that's what it's doing for Christina on this platform.
You see? I said you were a must-follow, all the way back to yesterday! (Or maybe it was Monday?)

Very insightful, very profound. Going to reshare, because I know a lot of folks who have me in their circles, haven't added you yet. (But if they think I'm going to be their waterboy, they have another think coming: They need to come here, read, and comment.) (Ohh...and add you to THEIR circles!)
Pedro, I feel exactly the same way.

Christina, I happened across you here on g+ and so far everything I've seen you post has been a delight to read. I would hope that you follow your dream to become a writer because I have a feeling you will be very successful at it.
Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing.
As someone who is most often a consumer, not a producer, of new content it is obvious to me that I reason I would come to the Google+ stream is for new content across a number of topics and from a variety of people. The other features of g+ are valuable for other reasons, but new content is what keeps me excited about my broadest streams. The decline of content is part of what pushes me away from other social media tools.

The caveat here is that at this point, we almost all qualify as early adopters who are far more likely to create content. We tend to be overly curious and want to share our findings. As the platform grows, it will be interesting to watch the ratio of the three groups you describe.
What I have been thinking about and missing for the past few years is something that you mention but l don't focus on: community. With the aforementioned large forum, and one I joined years before that, I really felt connected to some of the other members. Sure, there was great content too, but I think it went deeper than that.

Facebook is closed in the sense that you're more or less limited to the people you already know. Twitter is not necessarily closed in that way (although many people do seem to miss the point and purpose), but it's ultimately limited to 140-character chunks. Google+ seems to be partially inspired by successful elements of each, which is only one of the reasons I hope it takes off.
Well written as always, and some good viewpoints. However, I still have not seen anything posted on here beyond what I would see on Facebook or twitter. Nothing original, unless you want to count all the posts patting G+ users on the back for reaching a number of users that no one can specifically pin down.

The hangout feature is the most original thing I have encountered on G+ currently. Trying to follow people with large followings usually results in a giant stream of comments and generalized fawning that fills up my stream.

Wil Wheaton, who has one of the larger followings on here posted today about someone stealing his pen. Earthshattering, I know. Other people are posting what comic books they bought, or what song is in their head. Others are patting themselves on the back and posting statistics on how many people are following them, or how they're going to "fight the power" and not post their follower counts.

A very small amount are doing what you are asking though. Asking questions of the "community." If you can call this a community. One person asks a question, and it quickly degenerates into a shouting match over who wants to be heard first. Threads quickly fill up with 50, 75, 100 comments in minutes. People's voices get lost.

I've also seen a general sentiment of dislike to how G+ will be once the "other" people get here. This is a beta. People feel very entitled to get into betas (I've been in many betas before.) They feel like it shouldn't end. It's some kind of paradise, and the masses will trod on all the shiny, pretty things once they arrive.

How is G+ actually making the internet a better place? Generating a massive info dump? Allowing people to see what their favorite celebrity ate for breakfast? Another site to check in addition to Facebook? I saw a Google employee ask for people to go back and look at the introduction video today for G+ now that we've been here a while. You know what that video showed? It showed people speaking like this was Facebook. Not the Library of Alexandria.

Let's see where we are in 6 months.
+Christina Trapolino, you're really the first person I started following on G+, and by far I think you're the one in all my streams who really gets the platform and the community at this time. Your advice has been insightful. I've been more than happy to re-share you quite a few times. I'm glad you're able to take my thoughts and place them so eloquently.
@Michael Cavano you have to understand I'm coming from a slightly biased point of view. My partner and I have spent the last year working on a next generation social network, that does some of the same things G+ does. From my viewpoint it's just a multi-billion dollar company who already has plenty of money and good products and is now trying to put us out of business. It's not going to happen, because we have better stuff. But it does set us back some considering we were banking on the idea of people being sick of facebook and moving over to socialmore. Now it's less likely people will want to make that leap again in the next year.
In retrospect to your post, I've been trying to farm people over from Facebook and other Social Network sites. The people that have come over so far are the typical ones I expect. There is some value into how much time you've put into something, and I think since a lot of people were reluctant to sign up before, the same for Google. However; because of what you just explained, this is definitely a great way to share information, new information. I've been using Google+ appropriately, especially when posting my updates about my servers, and only sharing it with the people I know care.
You hit the nail on the head here. This is a big machine that will reflect its users in very enlightening ways. Do we want it to become nothing but stupid games and mind-numbing questionnaires? Or do we want it to be deep and interactive? If we don't give the effort and support creativity or connection, we are hurting ourselves in the long run.
Fantastic post and incredibly thoughtful. Thanks +GPlus Tips I discovered your post. It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do now in reading all of your previous post.

Oh, and if you really are serious about law school, let me know as I probably have a couple tips for you! ;)
Great post! Couldn't agree more. Original content is king on the Web. The more we produce and interact with each other, the happier Google will be with a thriving community but also the happier we will be.
One of the things that I recall when reading through G+ now is an article I read some time ago about the importance of social sharing in the modern age of SEO and advertising. If I see that a friend whose opinions I trust or agree with - even a little - approves of something, I'm more likely to go partake of that ... whatever it is. The creator is still the most important part of the equation - without the creator, the content doesn't exist - but social networks like Google+ (and its tie-in to +1 in Google Search, etc) empower the sharers as well, making them an even more vital part of the content ecosystem.

As always, a great post. And a great reiteration of some of the best advice I've seen yet for G+ - participate, even if that just means +1'ing a post you particularly like.
+Pete Davis, I would be honored to hear your music and to pin things to your jacket. Your comments today have seriously brightened me up while all these jerkwads yell at me on the phone.
+Pete Davis you've got another follower interested in hearing what you've been holding onto for all these years!! We want it!
+Mike Tesh - I don't know about +Christina Trapolino, but I'm interested in Google because it is a company who tends to disrupt those who are tying to make walled gardens. If that's what you're doing too, great! We need more of that. But for now - here I am toying with G+ while I wouldn't touch Twitter or FB.
+Pete Davis Gotta jump on the bandwagon here. As someone else who's played all the instruments on the music I make, I'm always interested in hearing from other folks who've had a similar experience.

I was actually wondering how Hangouts would work for house concerts. In everyone's own house.
I am so curious to see what the state of Google Plus will be in 3-5 months. I absolutely love the cerebral and engaging quality of conversations I have been involved with here. However, I am curious if this is merely a result of Google Plus being brand new and early adopters (at least some) finally getting the sort of engagement they have been craving for years but haven't found elsewhere. Part of me is scared that the newness will wear off and the nit-picking will start. The other part of me thinks this has the potential to be something really unique which will evolve in a positive and impressive way.
I think the ultimate G+ question will be "Will Google share G+ AdSense revenue with content producers (similarly to YouTube, but more open), and how much (if at all) will this degrade the G+ content quality by attracting heaps of thin spammers?"
Love your insight and intuition. And you write pretty darn well.
There is something pretty amazing going on here and +Christina Trapolino is really on to it. What I expect to happen is that everyone will add interesting people to their circles and, over time, prune them back to the people that really matter to them. This is akin to how our brains develop - going through periods of huge neuron expansion and then pruning connections to the ones that are reinforced by use. I have always throught of google as building the hive mind for us all. They started with the hippocampus first, remembering everything for us and letting us recall it. Maybe we are moving on to another brain region, lol- something social.
Another thought. I don't think the twitter stars will necessarily be G+ stars. This is a richer format. Good bloggers probably have an edge here.
+Aaron Wood - I believe the quote is "Winter is coming." The beta elitism you're detecting seems to me to be more of a fear of what's to come. People like the quality of conversation they're finding here and now. And whenever the question of why this is surfaces, one of the fears is that it is simply because the signal hasn't been drowned by the noise of the masses yet. The fear is that the noise will crash down on the conversation; snowcrash on the signal. Winter is coming. And nobody knows if what they're enjoying right now will last.

I don't think it's such a scary thing. I for one won't be following celebs and organizations. So I'm inclined to believe the signal won't stop until people stop sending it.
I just said earlier here in a G+ convo that Google surprised me when I thought people could not get closer anymore on the internet, I couldn't see this horizon. G+ did this magic of connecting people like you, and me, and all the other people I've connected for the past 3 days, while my "real" friends haven't arrived yet :)
+Paul Hosking You hit the nail on the head. The fear I was describing above is what you just eloquently pointed out. I suppose there is hope though as indicated by your last sentence.
Where there is a will, there is a way. The griefers will find a way to morph this, just like Twitter and Facebook into what they really want it to be. MySpace unfortunately was the only site that actually maintained its persona as more people joined. Let me just touch on the three I've mentioned.

Facebook - I was one of the original members of Facebook, given that I was a freshman in college around the same time Zuckerberg had created his site. I heard about Facebook from a friend who said my school, +Drexel University was on the list to be added. I used it for keeping up with classmates, and sharing information I needed. The friends I had on there, were just friends I had in school. Then when they started allowing cross-networks, I thought it was kind of silly. Then when it opened up to everybody...that's when it worsened.

Twitter - Does anyone actually know what twitter's intent was? Back in 2005-2006 I got word of Twitter, and was like cool! Finally a service to txtmsg all of my close buddies. Then someone discovered it could be used to spread media madness everywhere; then +Ashton Kutcher happened. The rest writes itself.

MySpace - I really never got into MySpace but immediately dismissed it given the strict rules I had seen in FB, and rather have had the exclusivity during that time, rather then having everyone be able to see it. It still to this day does it's job, and people have gotten famous from it. But I always saw it as a LiveJournal or Angelfire replicator.
+Paul Hosking, you're absolutely right about the quote! Removed the misquote. Thanks for the heads up!

You're also right about the fear on some levels. Who really wants to see this place people have grown to love over this short period of time turn into the "wastelands" of Facebook and twitter that they all escaped from.
+Mary Robinson You make an excellent point. Last night I stated to someone that I think the reason that many people who have enormous followings on Twitter (that I know anyway) seem so down on Google Plus is because I don't think that their overall appeal will translate here (but really who knows, it's anyone's guess right?).

What is really interesting to me which +Raymond Corsetti made me think about when he mentioned Live Journal is that this feels much like the early days of Livejournal. Good writers/sharers had a fairly good platform for engagement (although it did have its flaws). The welcoming aspect of this site permeates if you are actively utilizing this site.
I think it's pretty obvious why so many folks are following you. You write well, and you have something interesting to say. Most of us fall in one or the other category, but rarely can they be in both. Keep it up and I'm sure some savvy publisher will want to hire you to do what you love.
+Christina Trapolino Hey, I just want to say, whatever you secretly wish, you are already a writer. Social commentaries aside, there are relatively few people in the world who can produce a post this long and actually get people to read it. The reason you have 1600+ followers (as +Larry Dennis has just pointed out) is that you have tremendous talent as a writer, a very engaging style, and interesting ideas. It's a great combination.
"original content on the Internet is like a commodity. It’s rare, and it’s valuable" This has always been true of the Internet, that is of what's good and best about the Internet. It's what the blogging phenomenon was about back when it began. The scary thing (not necessarily a bad scary) is that creating original content here could nearly wipe out the need for having my precious little blogs. I feel both excited and hesitant simultaneously.
+owen swain With what my partner and I are working on, you're not going to have to make that choice.
+George "Siosi" Samuels The thing is, I tire of trying to keep up with everyone's "base". Consolidation and graphical interface consistently is what I long for, I want it all in one place. I hope the trend of bloggers moving their operation to G+ continues.
@George, that's a good point; my blog = my home base. Interestingly, I've let my main art blog languish big time as I let myself get sidelined but it is G+ that has me newly encouraged to produce new content there and here as well as get that blog retrofitted and back into action.

Thanks for your input. I did need to hear that. And yes, G+ is like a new toy.
@Pedro, right. So, um, perhaps I need that base more for me than others. Maybe it's a little of the both/and rather than the either/or?
after the whole data semantics generation has its short run in the next year or so, Web 4.0 will be all about machine learning.
Great post, Christina! I just posted something I'm calling the "Google+ Dilemma" and it's an offshoot idea to what you post here. I totally agree that content is important, but I think the "engage with the community" part is a must. Otherwise a person's content can sit there with no one to read or appreciate it accept themselves. :)
Does content create community though or visa versa? Or, in fact, is it both/and?
I know Google is all about making profit, but has anyone ever thought that Google+ is put together to make all their other offerings a coherent and integrated service?
It all depends on the content +owen swain. Dish out enough poor content, and now one will want to participate. On the other hand, too much content can overwhelm people. Finding that balance between the right amount of content and the right quality of content is the tricky part.
+owen swain I think that if you don't already have a large platform (following aka audience) you need to focus more on connecting than content. Maybe 70% connecting /30% content Why? The temptation is to focus 70% content/30% connecting and it just won't get you as much traction. I've learned this from my first failed attempt at Twitter.
@Aaeon Wood - Balance, right, that and enough sleep. The latter being what I need to work on right now or there will be no new content in the studio tomorrow.
Google+ seems to be, so far, a fantastic place to put forth Orignial Content™.
+owen swain Feel free to have both, all this is new and it's making me extremely spoiled.
What I find interesting is that although there were 77 comments here to a fabulous post...there was only one other +1 than +1 broken or do people not show their appreciation using it?
+Allison Reynolds, I just made a post asking about that same thing today. People seem very hesitant to use that +1 button. Maybe they think it's too much like Facebook's "like?"
Totally agree Christina, i truly feel that G+ greatest gifts is that it provides a platform where you can be your genuine self and not market yourself in any traditional sense and because you're not trying to sell anything and just being yourself, if you have something to say people will recognize that and promote your voice way better than i've ever seen implemented before.

I've never been comfortable with asking people for money for my creative endeavours but it is my day job. The inspiring thing is for the first time i can just be myself and give a sales pitch to what i do and get people interested in me as a person and then if they want to learn more than they can if they want but its starts with that person to person connection and that's amazing!
I created a new circle, "Interesting people I met on G+" You are the first person in it and hopefully there will be many more. Keep writing!
I wrote a similar piece on this subject on Monday:

I, too, was plucked from obscurity and catapulted from 100 followers to 1,600+ within a matter of days due to a few viral posts and some early spot-lighting from posts by +Robert Scoble and +Tom Anderson featuring me as "someone to follow on Google+." It's been a very strange, but rewarding experience.

I just differ somewhat in my opinion of where the reward comes from, which I detail in my post. It's not so much that Google rewards us, so much as its our own ego. It's too much to try to reiterate here, but the link to my post goes into detail if you're interested.

Anyway, happy to know others on here are sharing this same strange, fascinating experience. Congrats on getting recognition for your writing. :)
+owen swain - on my weekend TODO is syndicating to a blog via an email address in a syndicate circle. The pieces look like they're all there. The devil in the details is getting them to fit together properly.
I completely agree that content is king, but how is G+ really different from other networks in that respect? and LiveJournal and DeviantArt and (some of) Tumblr and Youtube all are focused on content creation. Some of them, such as Tumblr, have problems with original content because they allow reblogging and resharing too easily. G+ allows this as well. Right now we have a very vibrant community of engaged early adopters, but what happens when the flood gates open and the masses are let in? Many people will treat G+ as a curated tumblr or blog. Maybe with occasional status updates. How does G+ solves this inherent "problem" with easy and "lazy" resharing? I love G+ as a more flexible social network, but I'm still not convinced that it can replace a full blog.
I can't read this whole post while I'm on my Android (so I'm going home right now :)
+Lucas Gutterman One could argue that as a very good reason for building an engaged (and engaging) network of individuals now. So when the floodgates open, we'll already all have our circle of interesting people with whom to discuss the worthiness of new inductees.
"Worthiness?" What makes us any more worthy/interesting than anyone not already here? Should we set up a tribunal to make sure no bad people show up? That way we can enjoy our soda and pie in peace.
In the few days I've been on G+ I can tell that content is the (current) backbone of this place. On FB you friend people because they're your friends. On Twitter you follow people because of who they are. On G+ you circle people because of what they have to say. None of these are wrong, it's just different focuses that make each place different.

Also, sorry to hear that people are mean to you at work. :c
+Aaron Wood where did you get soda and pie? Is that a feature I missed somewhere? BTW your name didn't tag. I got four other people named Aaron Wood but the list got cut off by the bottom of the browser. Seems they should just add a reply button to each comment instead.
+Mike Tesh, didn't they issue you soda and pie when you got your G+ invite, too?! It's delicious!

Yeah, it sucks, I'm in competition with a lot of clones atm. Not sure if I'm going to win that war. ;)
+Aaron Wood Aha. I added you to a circle and now you pop up top. That's how it works. Plus you have an infinity symbol. That makes you much cooler in my book. I had a necklace charm of an infinity symbol made for me by a local jewelry guy when I was 16. This was back in the mid 90's when we didn't have internet to find that kind of obscure stuff. I wore it constantly for over 10 years. I still have it but seldom wear it anymore.
Thanks for the add, +Mike Tesh! Yeah, I was going for a play on the G+ message alert symbol, but I need to tweak it a little. :) Maybe you should bust your necklace out for old time sake?
This is a brilliant post! When I first started using G+ a little over a week ago, I envisioned this as a platform for people all over the world to share meaningful ideas in the areas of arts, politics and science. Genuine content production, even in Op-ed style posts, will make this a true social networking platform, where people can exchange views and ideas freely.
please keep these coming I really think you have been the best at pointing out what google plus is/is not and what is can be keep up the good work +2
I completely agree. I don't plan on giving up FB because I see that as a completely different thing. I use it differently. As a blogger I guess I view G+ as a huge RSS feed and opportunity to find interesting people and views. We are used to having strangers come along and comment on posts. I'm not sure that appeals to everyone. 
I use G+ as a more "personal" rss feed. The sites i like i have in Google reader + feedly, people that write interesting posts i "follow" (Whats the google word? Circle? :) ) on google+
Best advice! You've inspired me to do participate more fully (rather than just consuming).
Good thoughts here, worth reading through for any G+ user. I wonder a bit how much shaping is done by Google (the company), and how much is actually being done by google (the community of Google/G+ users). Let me explain how I mean this - G+ is an answer to the prayers many of us "social-network-geeks" have uttered. We have wanted something that isn't just about friending, that has greater uses than twitter, and more adaptability/fewer games/etc of other social networks. I could continue the list of things that we wanted that G+ seems geared towards... We wanted it and (this is the genius of Google) Google recognized and provided it before anyone else could. In fact, many of Googles apps have been created following this same pattern. We want something, Google recognizes it early and jumps on the task of creating it.

The same, from what I see happening, is the guiding principle here on G+. Google is less like a seawall that tries to direct the flow towards or away from something, and more like a surfer who watches the waves and knows the right direction to point the board and the timing to stand up on it, so that it gets carried the farthest. I don't think that Google (big G - the company) is going to do as much hedging and management of who gets "rewarded" as google (little g - the community. Content creators will get pretty far, I agree with that assessment. Google will try to capitalize on how we are using their product, I agree with that assessment. But I think that - while they will provide the platform - they won't decide who gets rewarded. google (little g) will create the basis of who gets the rewards - Google will give them out - but it will be us (as a collective) that determine who is worth it and who isn't.

Of course, that is what I believe you were saying in your essay here - all I did was point out the difference between Google and google, and helped define what roles they play.

Good thoughts. I'll be a sharer and repost it. ;)
+Mike Tesh This used to be a country that admired and applauded success - now we suspect anyone who manages to work and think and plan and execute well enough to succeed. Of course we need to keep our ethical antennas tuned, but we also need to distinguish between companies who succeed by identifying a need and serving it well (e.g. Google and Facebook), and those (like money center banks, Goldman, GM, who succeed by partnering with government and using that connection to stifle competition and guarantee profits regardless of the quality of the service. Are they market entities, or fake "businesses" which are really GSE's in disguise?

I find Google a great benefit in my life - I live in their cloud - gmail, gcal, gvoice, greader, gdocs, g+, Android tablet, Nexus One smartphone - and even though there is always room for improvement, I generally find their products useful and reliable. I, and millions of people like me, are what made Google as large a player as it is - when you attack Google, you attack all of us, and all of the individual decisions we've made over the years that brought us to this point. The market is the real democracy, because we vote with our precious dollars - and the voters have spoken. Perhaps your company will be another success story like Google's - in the meantime, let's try not to be envious of the success of others.
+Aaron Wood This is the problem with text conversation - no signals as to when someone is being ironic! Even card-carrying elitist that I am, I still hope that folks are using "worthiness" with a bit of tongue in cheek. I believe in culturally validated standards (food, wine, art, ...), and personal taste paid for with time, effort, and experience - but beauty is, nevertheless, still in the eye of the beholder.
It's absolutely and engineering problem - the question they had to answer - how do you build the infrastructure to allow people to interact as they do in life, with all the social exclusions, hierarchies and nuances that have developed over millennium.

I think they may have achieved it.
After reading your "Stop treating your G+ account like Facebook" article (which was a great read with some interesting ideas), whilst agreeing with you my own personal concept of G+ started forming in the back of my mind, hazy and lacking form I poked at it then left it alone. After reading this I realize how I see myself using G+.

Over the past couple of years I have tried adding a blog to my main social networks (Facebook and Twitter), but because a blog seemed to take a while to generate readers and comments (a least it did for me) I started to get a little disheartened, and eventually posted less because I felt no-one out there was reading any of it. What G+ is going to be to me is a place I can use as a blog, and a blog reader where comments from friends and random G+ers (now there's a plural that doesn't work) are abundant and feel more organic than they did on the blogs I tried.

I think we're all going to able to use G+ in different ways, which in Google's eyes is a winning formula. Have a gap in your social network? G+ fits that gap.
Trapolino: An Italian trampoline that you think is a woman but turns out not to be....
Christina, you're gonna be the first G+ study case. And thats exactly because you produce quality content. Your aproach to G+ is one of the bests I saw and its a pleasure to read you. By the way, the possbility that G+ offers to explain our ideias is amazing. We have space to explain owerselves without character limitation.
+Aaron Wood What +David S Brenner said :)
I hadn't intended to claim that we were any more interesting or qualified than anyone else. Merely that we can choose who we wish to follow. That we don't need to worry about G+ going public, because that will only add more interesting people to the discussion.

And when that happens, those of us who have established a network of people who are interesting to us personally can use it to discover more people we find interesting. thereby "discussing the 'worthiness' of new inductees." (generally taking the form of "hey everybody, this person's cool!")

Sorry for my lack of clarity, and thanks for pointing out that we're not better than anyone else :)
I'm firmly in the content re-sharer category but I should add that by nature all re-sharers are also massive content consumers The value that we add to the equation is that we function as filters for the people who follow us. We excel at finding sources, absorbing content, sifting through the flow and picking gems to share with people who don't have the time, inclination or interest in browsing thousands of sources everyday.
+Andrew James Haha. You're not the only one. I'm beginning to think there should be higher numbers than +1 for people who produce material this good.
+Mary Robinson Oh let's hope so! Twitter is somewhat cheapened by some red carpet walking film star thoughts for the day, imo.
Sadly I still feel as isolated (if not more) as I do on the other 2 big-names. I feel as though I am a "content sharer", but because I'm not 'vetted', nobody knows to add me to a circle. so my question is how (more specifically) do you think you got people to want to hear/see what you have to share/offer?
Keep posting things and do it publicly. The more things you share, the more people will see them and add you. Seems there are a few people advocating creating circles of people who you find interesting and see where they take you. You can always delete people later, move them to a more appropriate circle or whatever. But the more you share, the more visible you will be.
you're really intuitive about the mechanics of this stuff. i work in advertising/marketing, and i guarantee you'd be an asset in our company.
+Christina Trapolino Based on what I've read of your posts here I'd suggest that you skip law school (no need to waste time and money on that), instead aim directly to be a writer.
Christina, it's my birthday and today I wish to celebrate the happy accident that comes by being related to you, by blood. What a treasure... Michael
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